What is the change? Ethiopia has opened up its e-visa program to business travelers.

What does the change mean? Eligible travelers will be able to apply for 30-day, single-entry visas online to attend business meetings, conferences or exhibitions in Ethiopia. The e-visa program is open to nationals of 37 countries including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, South Africa, the United States and most European Union countries. Nationals of Djibouti and Kenya continue to be visa exempt.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing. The change took effect Sept. 20.
  • Visas/permits affected: E-visas for business travelers (or “e-conference visas”).
  • Who is affected: Short-stay business visitors traveling to Ethiopia for meetings, conferences, workshops, seminars or exhibitions.
  • Impact on processing times: E-visas will save eligible business travelers the time it takes to apply for a business visa at an embassy or consulate.
  • Business impact: Officials hope the new visa option will boost business activity and investment in Ethiopia.
  • Next steps: Additional information is available on Ethiopia’s e-visa website.

Background: E-visa applicants must be invited to Ethiopia by a private company, government agency, educational institution or nongovernmental organization. The first step of the application process requires the entity hosting the meeting or event to complete the appropriate Excel spreadsheet and email it to Once the Ethiopian Main Department for Immigration and Nationality Affairs approves the visa request, the hosting entity can tell the applicant to submit their application online. Prospective travelers then complete their application, providing a copy of an invitation letter and other documentation as required. Visa applications fees are US$32. The 30-day validity period begins on the intended date of entry.

Nationals of the following countries are eligible for Ethiopia’s e-visa program.

Countries Eligible For Ethiopia’s E-Visa Program

Argentina France Luxembourg Slovakia
Australia Germany Mexico South Africa
Austria Greece Netherlands South Korea
Belgium India New Zealand Spain
Brazil Ireland North Korea Sweden
Canada Israel Norway Switzerland
China Italy Poland Thailand
Czech Republic Japan Portugal United Kingdom
Denmark Kuwait Russia United States

BAL Analysis: Ethiopia’s move to open up its e-visa program to people traveling for business purposes will make business travel to Ethiopia significantly easier for qualifying foreign nationals. Those with questions about their eligibility, the application process or what activities are permitted on an e-visa should contact BAL.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Ethiopia. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

Copyright © 2017 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries please contact